New Vs. Vintage

Decorating can be daunting, to say the least. Big box furniture retailers and chain stores offer the concept of “buying the room”, where they sell you a matching set of trendy new furniture for discount prices. One-stop-shopping, right?

We aren’t opposed to trends, or new furniture, but we find that there are several key reasons to consider purchasing vintage, antique or estate items rather than defaulting to a room-to-go.

1. What goes around, comes around. Mid-century modern styles that were popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s are once again popular. Knockoffs of 1950’s dressers, dining room sets and coffee tables abound in popular furniture stores; both low and high-end. But guess what? There’s a lot of authentic mid-century styled items—the real deal!—on the market in estate sales and in antique stores. We see them weekly in our estate sales and feature them at Michael Taylor At Home.

2. Quality matters. Antique or vintage fine furniture is often made with quality hardwoods like cherry, maple, and oak, whereas cheaper new furniture is frequently made of pine, pressed wood, or laminates. Older furniture is often put together with dovetailed joints, a feature that adds strength to drawers. New furniture is often constructed with cheaper methods. While some antiques can be delicate, there’s a reason so many have survived for so long!

3. It’s really not more expensive. Remember our warehouse clearance sale this year, where we had deals up to 75% off? Here at the Michael Taylor Company, we challenge the belief that antiques or vintage furniture is “too pricey”.  Local antique dealers shop our estate sales to stock their booths and stores; but anyone can get those deals and save on the antique store mark-up! If estate sales aren’t your thing, our retail store provides 6,000 sq ft of shopping with a convenient location and hours that work for busy people.

4. It’s green. Reduce, reuse, recycle…right?  When you buy antique or vintage rather than new, you’re making a great decision for the environment. Purchasing existing items rather than supporting the manufacture and sale of new is one of the ways that you help conserve our planet’s resources. Not to mention…you’re supporting local jobs and small business in the community in which you live. Who doesn’t feel good about that?

5. Vintage tells stories. While none of us want to live in a museum, having a few items in your home that tell the story of an earlier era can spark conversation with your guests, or bring back memories. People often point out items in our estate sales and gallery and remark that their grandparents had a similar one. Things from earlier times remind us of family, days gone by, and where we come from, create a special environment. As they say…home is where the heart is!

Ready to shop yet? We’ve got 5 great estate sales this week in Franklin, Brentwood, Clarksville (glad to be back in Clarksville, we love our Clarksville shoppers!) and metro Nashville. Thanks to everyone who came out last week to Michael Taylor At Home for our huge semiannual warehouse sale; this week we will be closed to re-set and refresh our Gallery I and Gallery II spaces with new-to-us inventory. And congrats to Matt Mercy, winner of our $350 gift certificate. We’ll be doing more giveaways this summer so if you didn’t win, stay tuned for future opportunities!

In next week’s blog post, we’ll have lots of Father’s Day gift ideas. You know he’s got all the barbeque grill accessories and neckties he can handle…we’ll help you find something unique and different!

My best,

Michael Taylor and Company

Estate sale shopping strategies: Tips from the experts!

Ever wonder how people seem to find the perfect item at a great price at estate sales? Do they have a special “in” or secret? We’ve found that planning and strategy make all the difference when it comes to estate sale shopping.

Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get the most from your estate sale shopping experience:

1. Arrive early. In the busy summer season, for the best deals, you will want to arrive up to an hour prior to the sale opening time to get a place in line. Here in Nashville, it’s customary to bring a shopping bag or box to mark your place in line if you wish to wait for a bit in the comfort of your car…but get ready to line up in person as the sale time approaches.

2. Take advantage of discounts. While most sales start at full-price on the first day, the price will drop on subsequent days. If you’re looking for a real deal, head out to shop on the last day of the sale. (Hint: at Michael Taylor, we offer a 20% off code good on the FIRST day of our estate sales to email list subscribers…subscribe and save!)

3. Don’t like the price? Leave a bid. If you fall in love with an item, but the price is more than you prefer to spend…most sales offer the option to fill out a written bid form with your best price. At a certain point in the sale, the estate sale staff will evaluate unsold merchandise. If your bid meets their requirements, they will contact you by phone and let you know that you’ve got a deal!

4. Keep measurements handy. With estate sales, the time to buy it is when you see it, but knowing that a furniture piece is the right size will help you make confident buying decisions. We have tape measures available at all of our sales to help you figure out if the perfect dining room table will fit your space, but it’s best if you have the dimensions of the piece you’re looking for with you.

5. Bring a friend! Our estate sales are packed with great items. A shopping buddy can help you lift and load items, and is another set of eyes to help you find just what you’re looking for. Plus, it’s more fun to shop with a friend.

6. Shop for the opposite season. Christmas stuff is less popular in July, and we’ve got lots of lawnmowers for great prices in January. Buy for the next season, and you’ll save money for sure.

And remember…the more sales you visit, the more likely you are to find the treasure you’re looking for. Get out there and have fun…we’ll see you at the sales!

My best,

Michael Taylor and Company


Updating Your Outdoor Spaces with Estate Finds

Spring has arrived here in Nashville! It’s time to freshen up porches and patios, but how do you re-create the designer looks featured in decorating magazines?

Whether your decorating style is vintage or contemporary, we’re the experts on sourcing everything from retro garden accessories to modern outdoor seating. Here are a few ideas for using estate items to enhance your outdoor landscape…

Vintage concrete and cast iron planters add charm and curb appeal to outdoor spaces. The weathered patina of these planters lends rustic elegance to front entryways and porches. Widely available at our estate sales AND our Michael Taylor at Home gallery, they are an era-appropriate complement to historic homes, or give a touch of retro charm to new construction.

Fill them with annuals now, and switch out seasonal flowers for pumpkins and mums in the fall.

Now is the time to enjoy meals outdoors with family and friends. Add a cast-iron patio set to your patio, or a painted wood farm table to your porch. Accessorize with a vintage thermos, or 1950’s-era ice bucket. Mixing old and new is how you add a personal, fun aesthetic to your outdoor décor.

Don’t be afraid to add a whimsical touch to your outdoor space! A vintage bicycle or a cast concrete statue are great focal points for a porch; accessorize with florals for a unique vignette.

From topiaries to tablescapes, we’ve got a 6,000 sq ft gallery full of unique ideas and inspiration for spring! There’s something new to see every week; come in and let us help you put together a look for your home.

My best,

Michael Taylor and Company

Blue Willow Dinnerware

Blue Willow Plate
Blue Willow Dinnerware

The Legend

First offered nearly 200 years ago by a famous English maker of fine china, Blue Willow is still the most popular pattern to ever appear on dinnerware.

The popularity of the pattern has not faded with time or lifestyle changes as fashions and fads usually do. Blue Willow is as collectable today as ever and is still predominantly made in England.

The legend goes that once there lived a wealthy Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter named Hong Shee who fell in love with her fathers secretary, a gentleman named Chang. To keep the lovers apart, the father imprisoned his daughter in the palace. One day she was finally able to escape and meet her lover. The two happy lovers raced over the bridge to a waiting boat. They managed somehow to elude the Mandarin, reach the boat and sail away.

As they sailed, a storm came along, the boat foundered, and the couple were lost at sea.

It is said that two lovebirds appeared immediately thereafter, the spirits of Hong Shee and Chang, and live on to this day.